Reading the annual report the following figures stand out.
Pacific National Coal had a big increase in revenue due to expanding operations in Queensland. (who said coal was dead?)
Pacific National Rail also had earnings growth. The annual report states:
The two components of our Rail business – Intermodal and Bulk Rail – each saw volatile market conditions through the course of 2013 that led to an overall increase in revenue of 2.8% to $1,360 million. This result was achieved on the back of a 6.4% increase in Bulk Rail Net Tonne Kilometres, offset by a 1.4% decline in Intermodal Net Tonne Kilometres.
Grain revenue is contributing to growth. There is talk of mineral traffic which i understand to be the Hamilton mineral sands traffic. So even with the loss of the rice traffic in Victoria PN's revenue for rail and bulk was up.
Our Bulk business experienced a strong increase in revenue of 8.3% during the year, underlined by a 10% increase in grain revenue despite a softer than expected start in the year. Minerals revenue was also stronger through new business gains, but this increase was fully offset by a reduction in specialised freight haulage and lower infrastructure revenues as a result of the Broken Hill sleeper program.
There is still a lot more to do PN. Focus on Mount Gambier to Portland or Mount Gambier to Port Adelaide for wood chips.
There is still a lot of grain here in SA which could go via rail.
Victoria still has a lot of opportunity on BG.
Having said that Asciano also state by way of guidance:
a strong outlook for a vibrant market Our Pacific National Rail business has laid strong foundations through the period which we expect will position us well for the future. The business will continue to benefit from an increase in market activity throughout Australia – albeit at a softer growth rate when compared to the recent period of activity. Additionally, we will see the full benefits of the continued provision of intermodal freight services through our new five year agreements with both Linfox and Star Track Express. Whilst grain volumes are expected to be lower for the year, we will see bulk commodity contracts with Iluka, Boral and Holcim ramp up through the next 18 months. Our business remains focused on our aim of maintaining our position as Australia’s leading provider of intermodal and bulk rail services. Our continued scrutiny of cost structures, productivity levels and superior customer service will help ensure we are well placed to continue delivering success for our stakeholders.
PN are expecting Mineral Sands traffic to increase and for Grain to slow.